Property news update: One in five first time buyers regret spending too much on buying their home

Plus, serious rent arrears down, and Chinese investment in London

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The Independent Online

Around 20 per cent of first-time buyers in the last two years regret not buying somewhere cheaper, according to figures from Balgores Property Group, with many underestimating the costs involved with owning a property.

The report also found that 74 per cent have had to stretch themselves financially in order to afford their home.  More than half also found the additional expenses associated with buying a home on top of their mortgage payments had been more than they had expected. 

"'It's very worrying to see so many recent first-time buyers over-stretching themselves financially, after under-estimating all the costs that being a home owner brings," said Peter Walker, Director of Financial Services at Balgores Property Group. "Being able to afford the mortgage doesn't mean you can necessarily afford the home. It is really important that those trying to move on or up the ladder as the house price boom continues, ensure they are not taking on too much financially.

Serious rent arrears down by a third

In the first three months of 2014, the number of tenants in severe arrears is 68,000, down from 105,000 in the same period last year.

The report from LSL Property Services shows that those owing more than two months’ rent now represent 1.4 per cent of all tenancies in the UK, down from 2.3 per cent 12 months ago.

Paul Jardine, director and receiver at Templeton LPA, the specialist practice of LPA Receivers owned by LSL, said: "Tens of thousands of households are looking forward to a slightly more comfortable year in 2014, without the lurking anticipation of serious rental arrears.

"It’s true there remains a long way to go. Certainly, for any particular tenant still facing serious hardship, this won’t yet feel like an improvement and the seasonal difficulties of the festive period and New Year have taken their usual toll. But a clear positive trend is emerging."

Chinese replace Greeks in the top-ten list of prime central London buyers

"Two milestones were passed last year that demonstrate the growing importance of mainland Chinese buyers in London," says Tom Bill, Associate, Knight Frank Residential Research. "First, China replaced Greece as one of the 10 largest groups of buyers in prime central London. The top-ten, headed by the UK, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, was otherwise unchanged from 2012, and China was in joint fourth place with Italy."